It’s important that you find the right registered agent service for your homeowners’ association so that your personal information and assets are protected.
The right registered agent will go out of its way to protect the personal information and assets of your homeowners’ association’s board members, and that your organization remains in good standing with the Secretary of State’s office.
The wrong registered agent could be careless with the information of the board members, letting it fall into the hands of dubious characters like hackers or scammers. Incompetence or negligence could even lead to a default judgment against your community association.
A registered agent is important because it will receive important documents on behalf of your community association when your members are away at their day jobs. This isn’t a role to be taken lightly.
I've investigated 60+ registered agents, assessed the top 12, and written in-depth reviews of the 3 best. Here are my picks for the best registered agent service for an HOA:
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
Northwest Registered Agent is my recommendation for the best registered agent service because it provides all the services and features that community associations need, it has a fee that’s more than reasonable, and it supplies the best customer service that I’ve ever encountered from a registered agent service.
Northwest Registered Agent has a lot of impressive features.
It offers a diverse service catalog that’s sure to cover all the needs of any management company, including business formation services. You’ll get the requisite business address for your homeowners association, a portal for online access to your scanned documents, and compliance alerts for annual report reminders. Northwest is the only registered agent service to scan ALL your mail, not just your legal mail or legal documents and service of process, which is what most registered agents do.
It’s easy to get through the sign-up process, and its system is so easy to navigate that anyone can learn it. It was designed especially for those with little to no computer skills, which means it’s so simple a fourth grader could work it. Even better, you can sign up for registered agent services for multiple states from the same dashboard, which is an uncommon feature in the registered agent world. And while that feature may not apply to an HOA corporation or management company, it’s good to know the scope of your agent’s reach.
The feature that most influenced my decision to put Northwest at the top of my list was its customer service.
These days, many registered agent services outsource their customer service to foreign countries and staff it with employees who are under-trained and have no business experience. But Northwest Registered Agent balks at that trend.
Instead, it supplies a US-based customer service team that’s made up of a team of experts who are former lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, or small business owners. They skillfully answer your questions about their service and provide solutions to problems with their system. But they go one step further to provide business advice as well. This means that they use their years of experience and expert-level knowledge to answer the nagging questions you have about your business or corporation, and they can guide you through any obstacles you encounter along your business journey. And if by some chance they don’t already know the answer to the question you’ve asked, they’ll find the answer for you. Not only that, but this team is conveniently available during all business hours for customers. No appointment necessary.
Northwest is the only registered agent service to offer this level of support, and because of the myriad challenges that every budding business owner faces, it was easy to place this registered agent at the top of my list.
Surprisingly, Northwest charges only $125 per state, per year for its exceptional service, which is only $26 more than the cheapest option on my list. You’re guaranteed to like Northwest Registered Agent.
I only have one small complaint against Northwest Registered Agent, and it’s one that is frequently encountered with high-quality services. Its best feature is also its biggest drawback: customer service.
It can be somewhat annoying that a quick answer to a simple question is rather impossible. Each customer service representative is determined to provide the best possible service on each and every call, which can take longer than you’d like when you’re in a hurry.
They patiently listen to your questions and then ask you heaps of questions to make sure they understand all the details of the issue before they offer answers or solutions. They’ll give you the right answers and advice the first time so that you don’t have to waste time calling back, but if you’re in a hurry it’s actually quicker to just Google your question.
Again, this is just a small complaint against Northwest Registered Agent’s excellent services, but it can be frustrating if you’re pressed for time.
Northwest Registered Agent is the best overall registered agent service because it provides all the services community associations need, a user-friendly system, one of the lowest prices on my list, and the best customer service in the registered agent service industry.
To purchase registered agent services from a company that can scale up to support your business no matter how big it grows, with a price of only $125, check out Northwest Registered Agent here: Northwest Registered Agent.
2. Harbor Compliance — 7.92/10 (Best Full-Service Registered Agent on a Budget)
Harbor Compliance made its way onto my list because it supplies all the registered agent services that your community association or management company needs, and it offers the best rate of any full-service registered agent.
Harbor Compliance is a full-service registered agent, like Northwest Registered Agent. As such, it provides everything that community associations need, like a portal to access all your important documents, scanning and uploading legal documents (including service of process), and compliance alerts to remind you of important compliance filing dates, like annual reports.
It’s easy to complete the sign-up process, and you can painlessly sign up for registered agent services in multiple states should you need to. But the feature that many businesses find the most attractive is its price. Harbor Compliance charges only $99 per state, per year for its services, which makes it the least expensive full-service registered agent on the market. It’s even $26 less per year than Northwest Registered Agent!
With a price like that, it’s only natural that there be a drawback to this service. Harbor Compliance’s biggest drawback is that although it offers a list of services that are all good, none of them stands out as being truly exceptional or unique. Its services will cover all the needs of most management companies, but you won’t find any premium or luxury services among them. And though their customer service team is capable of answering all your questions regarding their services and they can adequately provide solutions to technical issues, they aren’t as well trained or useful as Northwest Registered Agent’s and they don’t offer business support.
So while all of Harbor Compliance’s services are good, none of them are really great.
Harbor Compliance is a reliable choice for registered agent services. It offers all the services your community association needs to meet its legal requirements. And it provides its full range of services at the cheapest price of all the full-service registered agents on the market, without charging extra for packages that include any fancy bells and whistles.
If you’re comfortable compromising Northwest’s customer support and expert business advice in order to save only $26 per year, you can learn more about Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
3. LegalZoom — 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
If premium registered agent services are what you’re looking for for your community association, then LegalZoom is the best bet. It was the best premium registered agent service among a multitude of dissatisfying premium options.
A premium registered agent is a cut above a full-service registered agent in terms of services. Not only does it typically offer all the services that a full-service registered agent does, it also offers premium services, such as specific types of insurance for business entities or payment of state fees for registered agent service.
Because LegalZoom is a premium registered agent, it offers all the full-service options your management company needs, such as an online portal to access your legal documents and legal mail, basic mail forwarding, a business address, and compliance alerts. On top of all that, you also get up to $1 million in identity theft protection.
There are a couple of significant disadvantages to LegalZoom’s services.
The first of these is its cost. It charges $299 per state, per year for its premium registered agent services, which is a whopping $175 more than Northwest Registered Agent charges. That’s a lot more than it costs to buy identity theft protection from a third party!
The second disadvantage is that its registered agent service is just one among its numerous other services, for example online legal services or formation services. Because of this it gets neglected and overlooked, which results in a service that’s nowhere near as optimized or prioritized as it should be for the price.
It has a system that’s not as easily navigated as the other two companies on my list, and its customer service isn’t as experienced, knowledgeable, or efficient overall as the other two top options on my list.
LegalZoom is a reputable company in the business world because of its online legal services and business formation packages, and it offers premium registered agent services as well. However, it charges more for its premium registered agent services than it would cost to purchase them separately, and it provides a subpar level of support.
It’s really not worth it to purchase LegalZoom’s registered agent service alone, but it’s worth considering if you’re already using some of its other services—like its legal services—or if your board members are dead-set on choosing a registered agent that also supplies identity theft protection and they aren’t concerned about the cost.
To learn more about LegalZoom, you can find the website here: LegalZoom.
After my top three registered agent service recommendations, I didn’t go into as much detail in the reviews of the remaining registered agents on my list because although I did research them, I ultimately found them too disappointing to warrant lengthy reviews.
ZenBusiness is a good source of national registered agent services from an online registered agent. It charges $199 per state, per year for its services. This popular plan provides your business with compliance alerts and mandatory annual report filing services, they'll receive and forward all legal notices including Service of Process, banking resolution packages to show your eligibility to conduct financial transactions, and an online document storage portal. However, for that exorbitant price, you won’t receive the consultant-level support that Northwest provides.
ZenBusiness also doesn't offer a free year of registered agent service when you sign up for these services, this means you’ll spend too much on ZenBusiness’ services in the long run.
This is another LLC service that provides registered agent services on the side. Its service offerings are scant, with no compliance alerts or important notices for filing deadlines, but it still charges $119 per year for them. IncFile is still a good option for anyone who wants to pay more for less.
IncFile also offers free registered agent service for the first year along with its formation package, but like ZenBusiness, it’s not worth it.
You can learn more about IncFile here: IncFile.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a cheaper, watered-down version of LegalZoom. What I mean is that its registered agent services are only a small part of overall service offerings that include formation services and legal services. Rocket Lawyer’s downfall is that it charges $149 per state, per year for extremely minimal services, and the quality of its customer support isn’t quite what you’d expect for that price.
If you’d like to read a complete breakdown of Rocket Lawyer’s other services, you can read my Rocket Lawyer review.
7. Sundoc Filings
Sundoc Filings continues the trend of LLC formation services that supply bare-bones registered agent services that cost too much. It charges $159 per year for these negligible registered agent services.
InCorp was an interesting provider to review because it threw some curveballs at me.
It charges the same $99 per state, per year that Harbor Compliance does, and its service list mirrors that of Harbor Compliance. The reason it received such a low score is that its services aren’t of the same quality as Harbor Compliance’s. Its system is a nightmare to navigate. It’s confusing, incompetently laid-out, and has all-around difficult navigation. Its customer support is sufficient, but the problem is that with a system that’s this troublesome, you really need quality customer support. That’s why it didn’t make it into my top recommendations.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings offers all the typical full-service registered agent services, with compliance alerts included among them, but it charges $149 per year.
You can read about Swyft Filings in my Swyft Filings review.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is one of the more disappointing premium registered agent services I previously mentioned. You don’t actually get much in the way of premium services with it. It only offers to cover any state fees that you’re charged when you switch from your current service to CSC Global. It charges $299 per year for this premium service, so you’d save money by switching to Northwest Registered Agent instead and then paying the state fees yourself.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
12. Jumpstart Filings
This is yet another formation service that supplies paltry registered agent services. Jumpstart Filings charges a steep $150 per year for the bare minimum.
Notably, though it’s a formation service, it doesn’t even offer the promotion of free registered agent service for a year with its formation package, so it’s definitely not worth the money.
Registered Agent Review Summary
Northwest Registered Agent is my most highly rated recommendation because it offers all the services that a management company needs, and it charges a reasonable rate of $125 per state per year.
It has a US-based team of customer service representatives made up of former lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who are enthusiastic about answering questions and helping you with your technical issues. And they offer business support, which means they’ll answer any business question you have for them, or find the answer if they don’t know it.
Northwest’s sign-up process is painless, and it has a user-friendly interface that anyone can learn, so it's a great choice for any community association that needs a statutory agent to meet its legal obligations, someone to receive government correspondence and legal papers, and a registered agent’s address to list on your formation documents.
If you want a registered agent that will make sure your HOA corporation meets all its legal obligations, head to Northwest Registered Agent today.
Best Registered Agent Services Review Methodology
There’s a multitude of online services and registered agents online, which seems like a great thing. The problem with this for thousands of Americans is that it results in “overchoice” or “choice overload.” Choice overload can lead to poor decision-making, which you don’t want to risk with your statutory agent. Because of this, I created this guide to serve as a convenient and comprehensive reference to the best registered agent services for your HOA corporation. Here’s how I reached my decision.
Why You Should Trust Me
When it comes to recommending the best registered agent service for a community association, you should trust me because I’ve spent more time navigating the tangled web of the registered agent industry and learning about it than nearly anyone else.
My journey started when I decided to get registered agent services for my two businesses—a health website and a cafe. Later, I sold these businesses and sat back to consider my next business move. I learned from talking to my colleagues and friends that the average business owner doesn’t have much knowledge about registered agents, and they don’t have the time to look it up. In light of that, I began making recommendations.
These recommendations eventually evolved and became an online business where I help thousands of people find the best registered agent service for their businesses.
How I Selected the Best Registered Agent
I used a four-stage investigative process to gradually reduce a list of more than 60 registered agents to the 12 currently on my list today.
Here’s how I did it.
Stage 1: Reviews
For the first stage of my investigation, I read thousands of online reviews. These reviews were spread out between several online review platforms, like the Better Business Bureau, Facebook, and TrustPilot. There were countless reviews online, but I completed this step to save you the trouble of doing it yourself.
In truth, I didn’t read EVERY online review because that would have taken me years. But I did read the reviews that were longer than a paragraph or two in length and gave me enough information to determine which providers were worthy of further investigation and which ones I could eliminate because they were obviously scams or used deceptive pricing practices (more on this in the “Value” section).
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After eliminating the inferior options from the list, I studied the websites of the remaining businesses to find out more about each registered agent.
Some of the information I was looking for during this stage included the service offerings of each provider, how many different contact methods for customer support it offered, the history of the company, any honors awarded to the company, and location (specifically whether they’re national registered agents or limited to local offices).
This gave me a good understanding of the services the companies offered, their backgrounds, and how they present themselves to potential customers.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
The unfortunate truth of the first two stages of this investigation is that the information gathered from online customer reviews and company websites is limited. If you really want to find out how a business runs, you have to talk to its customers. That’s why as the third stage of my investigation I spoke to real customers.
I did this by reaching out to customers I’d recommended registered agent services as well as visitors to my website who were already using registered agent services but shopping for a new agent.
I asked them questions about the quality of the services that they received, how well their needs were met, and how satisfied they were with their registered agent. They gave me a lot of detailed information about the quality of services each provider offered, and what customers can expect from them—no matter the claims on their websites.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
After all of that, the last stage of my investigation was calling up each provider’s sales team. I collected all the negative comments, bad reviews, problems with their services, and dirt I’d collected throughout my investigation and asked them direct questions about why they were failing their customers in these areas.
This stage was very enlightening. It provided me with information about how well each company took criticism and whether they were capable of using feedback to foster innovation and change. Some companies actually had the nerve to tell me that the customers leaving negative comments were just a bit “crazy” and that I should disregard their feedback. Then there were other companies that listened to me and told me that they already knew about the feedback I’d referenced and that they’d used it to provide solutions to the problem, thereby eliminating it.
This stage separated the best companies from the worst and solidified my choices for the best registered agent services.
The registered agent providers on my list were ranked according to the following five rating factors.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first rating factor I considered was the service list of each company.
It doesn’t really matter if a company has a great price and an intuitive system if they don’t offer the services your business needs. Plainly speaking, if a company doesn’t do what you need it to do for your HOA corporation, then you shouldn’t use that company.
Some of the things I compared were whether they offered an online portal to manage legal documents or just mail forwarding to the physical address listed on your formation documents. I also looked into whether they provide compliance notifications or just hand you a compliance calendar with filing deadlines filled in that you can easily lose or forget about. I checked whether they provide identity theft protection insurance or just offer a vague promise about keeping the personal information of each board member safe, and whether they provide cheap LLC formation services or even the best LLC formation services.
The providers that supplied the best service lists made it to the top of my list, while those with little to offer fell to the bottom.
Factor 2: Value
The second factor that I assessed was the value for money that each company presented. This factor varied by extremes from provider to provider. What I mean by “value for money” is whether the services are worth the price. This metric is a combination of the highest number of services and the lowest price.
The agents with the best value for money were awarded higher positions on the list, while those who didn’t have much to offer were placed in lower positions.
During research for this factor I found that registered agents typically use one of three different pricing tiers: budget, full service, and premium.
Budget agents cost $39–$59, full-service agents cost between $99–$199, and premium agents start at $299 and go up, making them the most expensive options.
Further investigation revealed that although budget agents look like a great option, it’s only due to deceptive pricing practices.
They aren’t lying when they say that sign-up is only $39–$59. But to get some pretty basic services that your community association needs (like compliance alerts, same-day mail forwarding to your registered address, or an online management portal for your important documents), you’ll have to purchase expensive add-ons and pay so much in additional fees that it likely would have been cheaper to have chosen a full-service agent in the long run.
For this reason, I chose to exclude budget registered agents from my list.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
Hiring a registered agent with low prices and all the services you want, only for it to waste weeks or months of your time during the sign-up process isn’t beneficial for any corporation.
To ensure that you choose a registered agent with a great price, a simple-to-use system and an easy and speedy sign-up process for your community association, the third factor I evaluated was the simplicity of the sign-up process.
The companies with automated and smooth-running sign-up systems earned higher ratings than those with prolonged, laborious processes.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Sad to say, the sign-up process isn’t the only area where your community association could be held up by your agent’s system. After your corporation is registered, you don’t want to spend hours teaching each board member how to use a confusing, glitchy, outdated system. Because of that, I rated each provider on how easily its system could be used.
The providers with user-friendly systems that were easy to navigate received higher positions on my list, and those with difficult navigation and complicated systems scored poorly.
Factor 5: Customer Service
It doesn’t matter how easily you were able to teach each board member how to use the system, or how intuitive it is, no computer program is completely immune from technical problems or glitches, and you’ll eventually at least have a question about it. Owners of business entities know that it’s during these most frustrating and trying times that good customer service is crucial.
Good customer service can have your questions answered and your problems sorted, getting you back to completing tasks as a board member in no time. Conversely, bad customer service can take hours to respond and then provide unclear answers to your questions, or offer up solutions that don’t work.
The companies with customer service teams that respond quickly, provide effective solutions, and quickly allow you to get back to the long to-do list you have to complete as a board member of the community association scored high on my list. Those companies whose customer service teams are slow to respond and provide confusing, insufficient solutions didn’t..
The Best Registered Agent for HOA Business Solutions: Results Summary
After I assessed the 12 registered agents on my list using my four-stage investigation process and five rating factors, the registered agent with my top recommendation is Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Overall Registered Agent: Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
Northwest Registered Agent landed itself in my #1 spot because it’s a full-service option with reasonable prices and customer support that sets the bar for the entire industry.
For $125 per state, per year, your corporation will get a registered address to protect the information of each board member, an online portal to access your mail (not just the documents), and compliance alerts for important filing deadlines. Most HOAs and community management companies will appreciate the care that Northwest takes to protect the privacy and assets of each board member.
But Northwest’s most important feature is its US-based customer service team made up of people who were formerly lawyers, accountants, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. They use their experience to courteously answer questions regarding their registered agent service, as well as questions regarding how to start, run, and grow your HOA corporation.
There are more than 3,000 positive reviews for Northwest Registered Agent online, so I’m confident that my experience with the company wasn’t a one-off.
Choose the best registered agent service for your corporation by clicking here: Northwest Registered Agent.
Northwest also offers formation services, which you can read more about in my guide to the best LLC services.
Best Registered Agent on a Budget: Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
If you want a registered agent that will provide all the services you need for your corporation and also meet the financial requirements of your board, then Harbor Compliance is a good option.
Its service list mirrors Northwest Registered Agent’s, and it charges only $99 per state, per year for its services, which is a fee that should make every board member happy.
Its customer service isn’t on par with Northwest Registered Agent’s, and it’s not as knowledgeable or helpful. But they’re still capable of answering questions about your service and walking you through solutions to technical issues.
Harbor Compliance actually provides several different services (like legal services and formation services), which I can’t feasibly stuff into this article, but if you’d like to learn more about them you can read my Harbor Compliance review.
If you feel that your corporation doesn’t need extra support and you’d rather save a meager $26 per year, you can learn more about Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent: LegalZoom (6.59/10)
If your board has decided in favor of premium registered agent services, then LegalZoom is the best premium registered agent out there. It offers the same services to meet all the needs of homeowners’ associations and management companies that Northwest Registered Agent does, with the addition of up to $1 million in identity theft protection and payment of any fees associated with switching from your current agent’s services.
These premium services cost $299 ($175 more than Northwest Registered Agent), and the only premium service to speak of for that price is the identity theft protection, which you can purchase for less from a third party. But if your board is particularly concerned about identity theft protection or wants to take advantage of its other services, like online legal services, then LegalZoom is a good option.
You can learn more about LegalZoom here: LegalZoom.
It’s vital that your board chooses the best registered agent service for your homeowners’ association to ensure that your legal obligations are met. With the right agent, you’ll remain in good standing with government offices and avoid legal proceedings or a default judgment against your HOA, as well as protecting your personal information.
I researched more than 60 different registered agent companies, then rated the top 12 using a four-stage investigative process and five rating factors.
My investigation, as well as thousands of positive online reviews, concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service for most associations.
It offers all the services you’d expect from a full-service registered agent, as well as an industry-leading team of customer service representatives that are friendly, patient, and enthusiastic about answering your questions and providing solutions to your problems, be they registered agent-related or business-related. Its online storage system for all your necessary documents is easily navigated, and you can easily sign up for registered agent service in multiple states from the same system.
If you want great service from a registered agent that will provide all the services your company needs, as well as a stellar customer service team of former accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, then hire Northwest Registered Agent today.